Hot Summer Days and Dehydration: Tips for a Healthy Summer Vacation

Hot Summer Days and Dehydration: Tips for a Healthy Summer Vacation

School is out, and millions of families will take a vacation during the summer months. Heading to a beach or lake is still the number one destination, and some preparations can make the holiday even more enjoyable.

These tips could help your family remain healthy, even if summer temperatures soar.

Prepare for Oppressive Heat

Be aware that when the outdoor humidity is greater than 75%, the body’s ability to lose heat by sweating is decreased.

When outdoors, spend time in shady, cooler areas.  In heat-wave conditions, spending more time in an air-conditioned place decreases the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Limit outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day- avoid being outside from 11 am – 3 pm. Avoid strenuous activity in hot, humid weather and during the hottest part of the day.

Avoid alcoholic beverages in extreme heat because alcohol can cause dehydration.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing in hot weather, so your skin can cool through evaporation. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to shade yourself in hot, sunny weather.

Maintain good indoor ventilation if needed by using a fan.

Take a cool bath or shower once or twice a day in hot weather.

Heat Exhaustion

Here are some reasons heat exhaustion can occur:

  • Being outside for extended periods without drinking enough water.
  • Drinking coffee, tea, or other caffeine products, as caffeine is a natural diuretic. Many people think that if they are getting hydration from tea or coffee they don’t need to drink more water. This is not true.
  • Soft drinks contain a lot of sugar and sweeteners in them. This prevents the body from using electrolytes efficiently, which are needed in the heat.
  • Be aware, air conditioning removes moisture from the air to make it feel cooler. However, it also removes moisture from your body. Be sure to drink enough water when you are in an air-conditioned space.  (You should apply this to your home or work during the hot summer months).

Summer travel in an airplane

It’s been well-documented that flying dehydrates the body. The airline industry has a directive that pilots and flight attendants should drink eight ounces of water for every hour spent in the air.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Here is a list of the signs and symptoms to watch out for in the upcoming summer months as they can indicate heat exhaustion:

  • Pale skin or a flushed face - like having just run a race
  • Dark circles under the eyes that weren’t there before
  • Profuse sweating, even when the air is cool
  • Tacky/sticky feeling skin
  • Feeling over-fatigued and can’t focus during the day
  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Nausea or flu-like symptoms
  • Abdominal cramping, vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fainting (passing out) or feeling faint
  • Dizziness – mental exhaustion – confusion
  • Feeling emotional – weepy, upset
  • Rapid heart rate – occasionally with mild chest discomfort
  • Sinus congestion
  • Dark-colored urine – urine normally is very pale yellow or clear. Also, low urine output with a strong odor, with a feeling of urgency to urinate.

Tips to Help Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Here are some tips to help you and your family avoid heat exhaustion during the summer months:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take small amounts of sea salt (not table salt) and/or homeopathic cell salts regularly. Some salts, including pink Himalayan salt and Baja Gold Sea Salt are considered by many to be healthier than table salt because most are less processed and may contain more trace minerals than regular table salt.
  • Take potassium with the sea salt
  • Mix electrolyte powder into water to make a flavored drink. Use electrolyte powders that are sugar free.
  • Drink room temperature water frequently if you feel overheated. Cold water may trigger an upset stomach whereas warm, room-temperature water will not.
  • If your heat exhaustion symptoms are not improving, visit a medical professional for help.

Here's to a fun and healthy vacation!

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